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Annika
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Location: United Kingdom
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10-06-2018, 12:33 PM

Is it normal to feel this exhausted with a (really good!) new puppy?

I got my 15 week old Eurasier puppy on Wednesday evening, and have two weeks off to help him settle in (after that I will go back to working from home). He's my first dog as an adult and I live alone, i.e. solely responsible for him. Honestly, he's calmer and better behaved than I ever could have expected. He sleeps through the night (11-, is fully house broken, mostly settles himself easily when I go upstairs or leave the house, and so far is very willing to try to please me, with minimal mouthing and general puppy cheekiness. He's also wicked smart and picks up new ideas quickly, especially if he can see that he might get something he wants. The only real issues we have at the moment are his relationship with the cats (he desperately wants to see what they are, they hate him), and a fearfulness around strangers who want to greet him.

Considering some of the puppy horror stories I've read, I really should be sailing through on a cloud of happiness. Instead I feel mentally and emotionally exhausted. I feel like my life has been totally consumed by this bouncing ball of fur. I resent the fact that my two beloved cats, who used to be my constant companions when at home, have had to be relocated upstairs (they are free to come down if they want, but he can't go up), and that my entire mental capacity has been taken up in trying to care for this dog. Since coming home with him on Wednesday, I feel like I have done nothing but think about him in one way or another, how best to handle this, that or the other, additional things he needs, comforting the cats upstairs, etc. Even when he's asleep and quiet and I could do other things, I end up mostly thinking about him, researching, and posting questions I can't find answers to on the internet. I feel hyper-focussed on him at all times, and ill-equipped to be out and about with him (he is great on lead but I feel like there are a bunch of unspoken rules for how to be a responsible dog owner in public and I don't know them). When I wake up in the morning I have this ball of tension/dread in my stomach for reasons I can't fully define. It passes when I get up and start our routine, but still.

This morning I was mentally shattered that I ended up taking a nap for an hour. At 10:30 in the morning! I didn't even sleep, just lay in bed in the darkness/silence. I did feel a bit better afterwards, but now I'm back to worrying about how to curb his fearfulness around new people, when I don't know many people in the immediate area who can be used as 'strangers'.

Sorry for the long post. Has anyone else had this kind of exhausting focus on their new dog, and if so does it pass?
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Trouble
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10-06-2018, 04:42 PM
I'm confused I thought he was 15 weeks not months but assuming that's a typo, yes owning puppies is knackering, they run you ragged. Falling asleep in the day time is so much better than being over tired and ratty with the pup. Maybe you could get yourself a good puppy book, the perfect puppy by Gwen Bailey is frequently recommended. I've not read it so can't comment I seem to always have a pup although my youngest is now 2 and thinking it should stay that way. As for fearfulness around strangers, you just have to start talking to people, luckily most people respond to puppies quite well, problem with that is you then need to tell him to move on. I find sitting on a park bench by a footpath or hanging about outside a supermarket works very well for socialising with strangers. Stop apologising for asking questions how else do you learn.
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Annika
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10-06-2018, 05:01 PM
Thanks Trouble and yes that was a typo, fixed now.

I like your park bench idea! We have a few of those in walking/bus ride distance, will give it a go! As it happens we have also just discovered a dog-friendly local pub around the corner which I think we shall be visiting in the afternoon (i.e. when quiet) with a nice chew for him to enjoy while I have a G&T.
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brenda1
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11-06-2018, 07:39 AM
This is part of one of our hand out notes that we give to owners with puppies/dogs that are frightened of people etc. It may help.


Find some willing friends/family (who will do what you tell them) and ask them to come over one at a time to just sit. They don’t look at or talk to the dog or attempt to fuss it. They come through the front door, into your living room and just sit and chat with you. If the dog growls or paces, the visitor ignores it and you tell him to down (or similar, in a gentle voice – this is not a stay exercise). If the dog goes towards the visitor say nothing. If your dog chooses to greet your visitor let him. Your visitor can then respond gently with a pat and a verbal hello. As the dog gets more used to the visitor then they can initiate the Hello on arrival.
Do this with as many visitors as possible and as many types. By type, we mean male/female, young/old (not very young children at first, wait until your dog is starting to cope with teenagers first), tall/short, different ethnicity, people who move fast or slow , smokers etc and then by clothes type (!) hats, glasses, big coats, baggy trousers, voluminous skirts, walking sticks etc. Some dogs take a dislike because of smell (i.e. a rescue who doesn’t like alcohol, because of a past bad experience), or agility (i.e. any dog who doesn’t like clumsy people in case they tread on or fall over the dog).
Also think about where they sit in the room. Initially sit them facing the window. When your dog has accepted them (which may take a few meetings) sit them with their back to the window and be prepared for the dog to become ‘upset’ again. Different lighting conditions make people look very different so that dogs don’t always recognise who is there. This is worse for them if the light is behind your visitor as all they see is a dark shape (as we do).
You are introducing your dog to all the types of people you may meet when out and showing them that they are not a threat. They won’t barge over to the dog and make him ‘like’ them; they will just sit calmly and wait for the dog to accept them.
If you know your dog has issues with particular groups of people then use them more in the house than any other i.e. men (quite often an issue for some reason).
Once they are happy with your selected visitors in the house progress to the garden and get them to walk up to you and your dog (on the lead) and attempt to say hi.
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Gnasher
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11-06-2018, 08:24 AM
Originally Posted by Annika View Post
Thanks Trouble and yes that was a typo, fixed now.

I like your park bench idea! We have a few of those in walking/bus ride distance, will give it a go! As it happens we have also just discovered a dog-friendly local pub around the corner which I think we shall be visiting in the afternoon (i.e. when quiet) with a nice chew for him to enjoy while I have a G&T.
Excellent idea!! Best place to socialise dogs of all ages is the local pub! They love all the attention they get, and you get to chill with a yummy gin & tonic! It sounds like to me you are doing a brilliant job but need to relax ... the little guy will be fine, you don't need to worry about everything so much. If he is as intelligent as you say, and I am sure he is, then my advice would be steady as you go and get him out and about meeting people as much as you can.

Enjoy the G & T's!!!
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LMost
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11-06-2018, 12:31 PM
Originally Posted by Gnasher View Post
Excellent idea!! Best place to socialise dogs of all ages is the local pub! They love all the attention they get, and you get to chill with a yummy gin & tonic! It sounds like to me you are doing a brilliant job but need to relax ... the little guy will be fine, you don't need to worry about everything so much. If he is as intelligent as you say, and I am sure he is, then my advice would be steady as you go and get him out and about meeting people as much as you can.

Enjoy the G & T's!!!
Yep that is what me and Mouse are doing when we stop at the local pub the past 4 years working on his social skills
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Gnasher
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11-06-2018, 04:06 PM
Best place!! We even took a very high content wolf cross to the pub to try to get him more settled with strangers!! It helped considerably because everyone made such a fuss of him which he hated but gradually learned that 2 legs were good not bad!
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